There are several Android document scanner applications available in the Google Play store and a good rule of thumb is usually “try before you buy”. So, how well do those free document scanner apps work on a smart phone and are they worth the money for an upgrade? Here is information on three of those apps including their user interfaces and how well the document scans turn out.
1. The initial user interface screen is simple.
2. Basic sharing consists of exporting to SD, Gmail, Dropbox, and Evernote in the free version. Other options include text messaging apps, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, and default email.
3. Imported documents from Dropbox and the phone’s Gallery can be edited and shared.
1. Quality of the scanned document is mediocre to low.
2. Controls for editing the document are clunky.
3. The only document type available appears to be JPG/JPEG; no PDF option was found.
4. When the phone is turned to landscape mode, the document disappears from the editing screen. The user must click back to the Edges identification screen and start editing again.
5. Editing previously scanned documents does not appear to be an option.
1. The user interface is simple and the editing interface is also easy to understand.
2. Document type choices include JPG and PDF.
3. Basic sharing consists of exporting to SD, Gmail, Dropbox, and Evernote in the free version. Other options include Google+, Facebook, WordPress, default email and other installed applications.
4. Imported documents from the phone’s Gallery can be edited and shared.
1. Quality of the scanned document is mediocre.
2. Editing options are clunky and limited. Experimenting with the Grayscale, Enhance Color and other editing options seems necessary to achieve the desired results. The buttons only appear to change the scan once rather than higher or lower with each click. For example, the brightness only goes up one level when clicked.
1. The user interface and editing options are both easy to understand.
2. Quality of the scanned document is very good. It is clear and sharp. Processing automatically removed a shadow from the document photo as well.
3. Notes can be added to documents.
4. Basic sharing consists of exporting to SD, Gmail, Dropbox, Kindle, Facebook, text messaging apps, and many other installed applications.
5. Various other settings are available from choosing the type of document (business card, note, etc.) to password protection to multi-platform device sync.
1. Screen orientation did not allow for landscape mode.
2. Sharing options for Evernote and SkyDrive are only available for a 7-day trial. After the trial, users must upgrade to the paid version for those sharing choices.
So, how well do the free document scanners work? Overall, pretty well and some are better than others. Are they worth the money for an upgrade? You decide.
As with any other application, free versions have limitations. If users are willing to forego the cons of the above free apps; having a document scanner in a purse or pocket can be a handy tool.
Used for this exercise:
- Phone: Samsung Galaxy SIII
- Used same across all apps: documents, lighting, time of day, angle
- Scans viewed in: phone, Gmail attachment, PhotoShop Elements 11, Dropbox, Evernote
- Number of documents scanned per app: 2